Croatia-Serbia: War goes on - by judicial means

04 April 2014 by Radosa Milutinovic, The Hague (The Netherlands)
During a month-long, high-powered legal clash Croatia and Serbia have each accused the other of genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. 20 years after last artillery salvos announced the end of the former Yugoslavia's bloody breakdown, two of its principal republics continued to wage war, by judicial means. 

 

In its claim, filed before ICJ in the summer of 1999, the Croatian government alleged that in 1991-92 Serbia committed 'ethnic cleansing' against Croatian citizens, as 'a form of genocide', 'by directly controlling the activity of its armed forces, intelligence agents, and various paramilitary detachments, on the territory of Croatia', and that large numbers of Croats were 'displaced, killed, tortured, or illegally detained'. After protracted procedural wrangling over court's jurisdiction, Serbia retaliated in 2010, with a counterclaim: Croatia, it alleged, committed genocide against its Serb citizens during Operation Storm in August 1995, by persecuting 200,000 Serbs from their homes in a self-proclaimed rebel statelet; killing those who stayed; and destroying their property.

Want to read more?

We have tailor-made memberships for students, individuals, groups of professionals and large companies and organizations. A subscription entitles you to receive the International Justice Tribune every two weeks as well as become a member of the Justice Tribune Foundation, supporting independent reporting on international justice.

Subscribe now

Related articles

issue
04 April 2014

Links to articles and PDF of IJT 156

article
The International Court of Justice (Wikipedia/Yeu Ninje)
27 January 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, Belgrade (Serbia)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will rule on 3 February in a case that saw wartime foes Croatia and Serbia accuse each other of committing genocide during the 1991-1995 war in Croatia [IJT-156].

article
Serbian delegation interviewed by journalists inside the Peace Palace, which holds the seat of the ICJ (Photo: Sandra Milic)
11 February 2015 by Sandra Milic, The Hague (The Netherlands) and Stephanie van den Berg, Belgrade (Serbia)

Some hoped it would be the end of an era when the UN’s judicial branch last week ruled that neither side of the 1991-1995 war in Croatia committed genocide. After the International Court of Justice’s ruling on Bosnia in 2007, Belgrade could think this was the last ICJ lawsuit it would face. But now Kosovo is determined to have its day in court.

article
ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz (Photo: Flickr/ICTY)
13 November 2017 by Boro Kontic

On the eve of the verdict in the case of Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz has given a lengthy interview to Serbian and Bosnian media. Here is shortened version of the interview conducted by Boro Kontic which has appeared in Novi magazine and Oslobodjenje newspaper. 

 

article
Bosnian victims protesting outside the ICTY during the Karadzic judgement. The banner reads: 'Truth sometimes sleeps but never dies' (Photo: Joost van Egmond)
24 May 2016 by Joost van Egmond

“Finally, good news from The Hague!” famously cried the then Serbian prime minister Ivica Dacic at the acquittal on appeal of former Yugoslav army commander Momcilo Perisic by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. For him, and for the government he represented, this counted as vindication of Belgrade’s actions during the war. The fact that Serbia as a state had already been held partly responsible by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the very crimes this individual was tried for, was swept under the carpet [IJT-63].